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Phylogeography of the Caspian whipsnake in Europe with emphasis on the westernmost populations

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The Caspian whipsnake (Squamata: Serpentes: Dolichophis caspius) reaches its northwestern distribution limit in Hungary where it is the single representative of its genus. Recently, several new localities of the species were discovered in Hungary. Focusing on these edge populations and on other ones in the western parts of the distribution, a phylogeographic study based on cytochrome b sequences was carried out. Thereby, a clear mitochondrial divergence was observed in Europe, with eastern and western haplotype groups found by analysing a number of specimens and populations. Our haplotype network analysis suggests a rather rapid postglacial (re)colonization of Europe by this snake species. In Hungary, three different haplotypes were detected.

Affiliations: 1: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, JEMU, Rue Vautier 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium;, Email:; 2: Ministry of Environment and Water, Development Directorate, Váci u. 45, H-1134 Budapest, Hungary; 3: Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, INF 364, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany; 4: Prirodnjački Muzej, Njegoševa 51, RS-11000 Beograd, Serbia; 5: Hungarian Natural History Museum, Baross u. 13, H-1088 Budapest, Hungary


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